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Merve Şebnem Oruç
MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ
When Khalifa Hafter returned to Libya in 2014, he first came to the eastern part of the country. His claim was that the extremists were based in Benghazi. He joined the self-styled Libyan National Army and the Battle of Benghazi, a battle of the Libyan Civil War of 2014 fought in May and July of 2014.
In 1951, King Idris I proclaimed Libya’s independence in Benghazi. When Moammar Gaddafi led a military coup against King Idris, he was a young soldier in Benghazi. When the Arab Spring hit Libya in February 2011, the protests first began here. When the Western countries intervened in Libya in March, their first target was Benghazi. And on Sept. 11, 2012, the events that turned the Arab Spring into the Arab Winter and changed the course of history once again in Libya happened in Benghazi: The extremist attack on the U.S. Consulate that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher J. Stevenson, and three Americans in the city.
In fact, NATO’s intervention in Libya did not begin well-planned. Gaddafi made his mercenaries attack the protesters and vowed to “clean Libya city by city, house by house,” and then-President Barack Obama was reluctant to intervene. Later he went on to say that his “worst mistake” during his presidency was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
Even though the U.S. was reluctant, France and Britain had already made their decision.
In March of 2011, a controversial figure of the French intelligentsia, a philosopher and writer who has quite interesting political contacts around the world considering the fact that he is an intellectual, Bernard-Henri Lévy, went to Benghazi and met with Gaddafi opponents.
When he was asked why he had done that, he said: “It was human rights, for a massacre to be prevented, and blah blah blah – but I also wanted them to see a Jew defending the liberators against a dictatorship, to show fraternity. I wanted the Muslims to see that a Frenchman, a Westerner and a Jew, could be on their side.”
Categories: The Muslim Times